Nothing quite hits the spot on a Friday night like fried chicken.
I’m happy to report that Steve Gao will soon open Chicken Dee, a fried chicken and southern comfort restaurant at 217 Alabama St. in the former Fish Wings and More building.
Gao told me he thought now was the perfect time to open a new restaurant. In his view, the restaurant could motivate other prospective business owners looking to call Columbus home.
“We can do some good business,” Gao said. “Some people are scared by things like inflation, but I think about the future and all the businesses and the economy that’d be a motivator,”
Gao said he expects to open by Nov. 14. Right now, he is renovating the building by adding new furniture and spiffing up the old spot while he waits on permits and an inspection before opening.
You know you’ll need a refreshment after all that crispy fried chicken. My recommendation? Why not try one of Columbus’ newest smoothie and loaded tea shops? Key East Nutrition opened at 910 Tuscaloosa Road on Oct. 25 in the former Outlaw Nutrition teashop.
Manager Tabitha Blaylock told me the former owners closed their store on Oct. 1, and she and the rest of the Key East team were working to prepare the building for their grand opening. They even created a new menu with all new recipes. Her favorite? The banana split shake. I might have to get my hands on it myself.
“We have all new recipes,” she said. “We’ve redecorated, and there is a different layout than they had before.”
Since opening the new shop, Blaylock said the business has been steady and she looks forward to growing the shop as more customers come by.
“It’s been good,” she said. “It’s exciting to see new customers on this side of town.”
Brick-and-mortar food and beverage isn’t the only thing stirring in Columbus. Rubens co-owner Ray Boltwood and his partners are planning to open a new food truck for lunch service right outside the restaurant at 171 Moores Creek Road, right off Highway 82.
Boltwood told me the company purchased a food truck in late October and is in the process of refurbishing it and putting together a lunch menu.
“We’ve got to get it cleaned up, get all the paperwork and give ourselves a timeline,” Boltwood said. “We’re going to do lunch plates, basically, and it’ll be for fish and chips and stuff like that.”
While Boltwood doesn’t have a specific timeline yet for when the truck will open, he said the truck will allow Rubens to open for lunch much more easily than if he had to hire a whole lunch crew.
“It’s easier to run a truck during lunch hours and open up the entire business,” he said. “There is already a lot of business short-staffed as it is. … We can run (the truck) through three people.”
Now in Starkville, the long-awaited Triangle Crossing Shopping Center on Highway 12 held its grand opening Wednesday morning.
Triangle Crossing developer Mark Castleberry said in a press release issued that day he was excited to see the center finally open.
“Castle Properties is very thankful to all that have contributed toward Triangle Crossing becoming a reality,” Castleberry said. “We believe that the employment of approximately 200 people and the sales and property taxes being generated will warrant this investment and all will be proud to have been a part of the Triangle Crossing Shopping Center.”
As for the many shops in the center, all but one have opened. Some of those include Marshalls, Ulta Beauty store, PetSmart and Rack Room Shoes, to name a few. Co-developer for Castleberry Properties, Luke Castleberry, told me the Aldi’s grocery store is slated to open on Dec. 1.
Finally, the Double Headed Eagle Bar and Grill located at 1545 Saint Andrews Lane opened Halloween night in the former Cowbells building.
Owner Nick Plava previously told me he planned on opening his sports bar and grill with classic burgers, pizza and finger foods on the spooky evening, and I’m glad to report the opening night went off without a hitch.
Well, that’s all for now. Make sure to check back in next week for more goings on in business.
Dispatch reporter Grant McLaughlin writes about business openings and closings, as well as other unique business news. Send business tips to [email protected]
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